Parent Mental Health Day is fast approaching on the 27th of January, and this year incorporates a distinct theme around "Creating Positive Relationships". This blog post is dedicated to looking at how you can create and foster a healthy relationship between running your business and parenting.
With 59.7% of business owners having had at least one child when they launched their first business, it's unsurprising that many Bookwhen customers have found themselves juggling these two aspects of their lives and experiencing all the challenges they can bring. Running a business requires dedication, resilience, and a strategic mindset. Maybe you're spending long nights forecasting, considering hiring, growth tactics, looking at cutbacks or a potential location move. On the other hand, parenting is a journey that many describe as filled with love, joy, and various responsibilities. Imagine combining these two demanding roles – the result is a delicate yet fulfilling balancing act. Although this can be particularly demanding, it's achievable with careful planning, organisation, and support 💪
Flexible Work Environments 👩🏾💻
Creating a flexible work environment allows your employees and yourself to be present for children's milestones and events, such as parent evenings, while meeting business demands. Embracing tech to help grow and maintain your business, such as using Bookwhen and fostering a remote/hybrid-friendly culture (where possible), can contribute significantly to achieving this delicate balance. Remote work might not be suitable for every parent, so one option is to look for an office with a short commute that can help you turn off "work brain" and enter into family mode at the end of the day. Other options are coworking spaces and coffee shops, which give a sense of community and might offer events which allow you to socialise with other business owners and/or parents.
Time Management is Key ⏰
Budget your time as you would with money and accept that you can't be in two places simultaneously. Once you've mastered this, things may fall into place a bit easier. To help set a routine and manage your time effectively, opt for a family planner on your fridge (with a rewards chart for younger children) to ensure you and your family are on the same page each week. Each day, you could have 20 minutes of "me" time to do something that helps you recharge, 8 hours of work time broken up with some breaks and 30 minutes to read to your children before bed. Children love routine, so having these flexible but structured environments helps you create and stick to special traditions like having dinner together as a family, bedtime rituals, or movie nights, which they'll appreciate. An essential part of time management is setting boundaries and sticking to them. For example, don't bring your phone or laptop into your bedroom whilst you read to your children and go on family trips. Instead, focus on doing quality work during your scheduled work hours so you don't have to be bothered about it during family time.
Incorporating Family into the Business 👩👦
Some of you may find creative ways to involve your families in their business ventures. This fosters a sense of togetherness and provides valuable life lessons for children. From discussing business ideas around the dinner table to involving older children in age-appropriate tasks, incorporating family into the business can be a wonderful bonding experience. Unsurprisingly, having an entrepreneur for a parent increases the probability that a child ends up as an entrepreneur by 30%–200%! So, if you want to keep your business in the family, getting your kids involved early can pay off.
Creating a Support System 🙋🏾♀️
Surrounding yourself with a robust support system is key. Whether it's a reliable childcare provider, supportive family members, understanding employees, or hiring more staff to delegate jobs, having a network that understands and respects your dual roles can make a significant difference. One of the most challenging things for entrepreneurs is letting go of control. Handing tasks to others in the business can be uncomfortable, even if necessary. But when you delegate more and work less on your business, you get to enjoy more time with your family. Plus, you can focus on the big picture and how to take your business to the next level. Additionally, regular communication about shared responsibilities with your spouse or partner is vital to maintaining harmony at home.
Prioritising Self-Care 💆
Amid the hustle and bustle, it's easy to neglect self-care. However, maintaining your well-being is crucial for sustained success. Whether finding time for a hobby, exercising, or simply relaxing, prioritise self-care to ensure you're equipped to handle the demands of parenting and entrepreneurship. Even if it's 10 minutes a day, personal relaxation will benefit all areas of your life and even impact your ability to get more done in the long term. If you're struggling to implement this, asking family, friends or a spouse to help look after any children can really help take the pressure off.
Jo Potts, CEO and founder at Bookwhen, knows all too well the struggles of maintaining a balance between being an awesome dad and running a business. Since day one, he has implemented effective measures to help with this.
Bookwhen is a remote-first business and has been since incorporation. It was one of the driving factors in starting the business. In fact, I was already a parent back then and understood the need for flexible working. This has enabled me to avoid commute time, do school pickups, and balance time between work and family life. As we all know from the pandemic, however, working from home requires some discipline, and strict boundaries need to be set. A good routine, a dedicated workspace, and learning how to prevent work worries from spilling into home life are the keys to success. In a nutshell, time management is key. More generally, Bookwhen has evolved to embed all of these principles into our policies and encourages a culture of flexibility, allowing employees to easier navigate childcare duties such as school drop off and sickness. This has helped team members feel more supported, which has led to higher productivity and less absenteeism.
Parenthood and running a business demand a lot of time and energy. Setting realistic expectations for yourself in both roles is crucial, and recognising that asking for help when needed is okay. Create achievable to-do lists, prioritise tasks, and celebrate small victories along the way, but most of all, enjoy what you do and learn from your ups and downs!
If you are struggling with your mental health, please know that you are not alone and seeking professional help is encouraged. Information provided above is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.